Roku’s $50 Answer To Chromecast Weeks Away

Dave Zatz —  February 23, 2014 — 12 Comments

roku-stick-chromecast

Via BBY Insider, we’ve learned that Best Buy intends to replace the Roku 1 on store shelves with a revised Roku Streaming Stick come April. Unlike the poorly received first gen Streaming Stick that ran $100, may or may not have been MHL-compatible, and relied on a partner television’s (or projector’s) remote for control, the new agnostic version will be hitting the streets at $50… including remote. Further, the 2014 HDMI Stick sports USB connectivity – which we suspect will be utilized for power as seen with Google’s Chromecast. And, speaking of Chromecast, we wonder if Roku will finally pull the trigger on Miracast screen mirroring. It should go without saying that Roku’s existing 1200+ “channels” (of varying quality and interest) are confirmed for the ride.

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12 responses to Roku’s $50 Answer To Chromecast Weeks Away

  1. This may help Roku slow the bleeding, but I just don’t see Roku surviving as a lone company much longer with the stiff competition from Google, Apple, and soon Amazon – all of which have more to gain from selling such devices in my opinion. Rokus margin on their older streaming boxes had to be better than on the sticks for much lower sales cost.

  2. I have a WD TV Live, an Apple TV, a Chromecast, a Raspberry Pi running XBMC, and a NeoTV. I suppose I will need one of these as well. And when does that Amazon box come out?

  3. According to the the Best Buy leak, the Amazon solution will be on store shelves in May. I assume release will be earlier and Recode has it pegged for March.

    Roku’s still got a great UI and more apps than all others, which makes it still very appealing. But I agree with Brent that they face some stiff competition going forward. Chromecast doesn’t have many supported apps yet, but they will. And, of course, Apple and Amazon. (I assume they’re counting on an uptick in commissions on movie and TV show sales/rentals now that those are pinned to the home screen via M-Go and will use strong sales to find a suitor or ahead of that rumored IPO.)

  4. I rooting for the little guy. Go Roku!

  5. Roku is making a good move here. My guess is that if it is really going to happen that there will be another capability announced with it to really get some buzz. Maybe YouTube or DIAL like the Roku 3. If people want the little stick Roku would be crazy not to give something like this a shot.

  6. A few months too late, not to mention the chromecast is a fraction of the cost and development is improving every day.

  7. Yeah, I think Roku is in trouble in the long run. Google and Amazon are probably willing to sell their products at or below cost and make back their money other ways. Apple is unlikely to do that (although the current product can’t be making much money) but probably commands some kind of premium in this market if Google doesn’t take that away.

    I wonder how many HDMI plugs we’re willing to put up with? Once I have one “HDMI thumb streamer” is there a reason I wouldn’t want another? Like given how fat these things are they tend to block other ports? Or the fact that I’m unlikely to have multiple USB plugs on my TV? Or something else?

    What can they do? I guess if a Roku was a complete replacement for a ChromeCast AND had the Roku stuff, it would be a premium option no? Can it do that? Implies HDMI-CEC support, DIAL, and of course the DIAL stuff has to work for ALL of the apps that work on Chromecast. I guess we’ll see if they do that.

  8. Roku pissed off too many people by abandoning all but the Roku 3 users. Most are too gun-shy to risk another abandonment. I’m switching to Chromecast and also Amazon when it’s out.

  9. How did Roku abandon anyone? Their old hardware still works, New channels required better hardware — just like new software requires newer computers, new apps require new iPads, etc.

    I have a Roku 1 and Roku 2. I don’t feel abandoned at all.

  10. As to Roku: depends on whether you really believe that the new PBS Channel really demands a lot more hardware processing power than HBO Go. Does Bird Bird really need a lot more rendering might than Daenerys Targaryen?

    More plausible is that Roku has discovered what Apple has known for years: obsolescence is a gold mine. New channels and a new UI become “features” that come along only with a new product, regardless of whether a particular feature could have easily run just fine on a prior generation of hardware. And of course they saved a few shillings by not writing a few more lines of code for older APIs and testing.

    That’s the dark side of buying from companies that make all of their money off of hardware. They want you to do it again, and again. By contrast, look at how fabulous is Microsoft’s support for older hardware. They sell software. I sometimes put Windows on my older Macs that Apple has obsoleted to bring new life to them and many new years of support.

  11. Last sprint Roku said the Roku 3 was the future of streaming with its 5x processor. Two months later, Woods said Roku was getting out of the set top box business — that the future of the company was in licensing their service to tv manufacturers. In September, Roku re-released their Roku 2 line. Now, they are re-releasing their stick — one more product for the company to support poorly. At the same time, Woot, 1sad, and Newegg are awash in Roku refurbs and owners are unhappy with…everything. There is a reason why Roku is Anthony Wood’s sixth company. I suspect there will be a seventh.

    I would not buy this — or any new Roku. The Roku 2 XS refurbs are a much better deal.

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